Tag Archive | "James Gomez"

Message to Opposition: Don’t forget to whack the PAP

Message to Opposition: Don’t forget to whack the PAP

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NSP Sec-Gen Goh Meng Seng needs to stop scoring own goals; the enemy’s the other way.

By Terence Lee

Will Goh Meng Seng (third from left) still be smiling after the General Elections, or will his antics come back to bite him? Photo: TERENCE LEE

BACK in the good’ol days when Singapore football actually meant something, you wouldn’t see Fandi Ahmad tackle  Sundramoorthy on the pitch, even if the opponent were minnows. In fact, underdogs often raise their game when facing a far superior team.

Which makes the recent catfight between the National Solidarity Party and Worker’s Party all the more mind-boggling.

It seems that the People Action’s Party (PAP) was forgotten the week after the new electoral boundaries were made known, despite being the fattest sumo wrestler in the ring, and the most dazzling (or the most kayu) football player on the field.

Instead, you get a silly blog post by NSP Secretary-General Goh Meng Seng criticising the Worker’s Party and its arrogance, to which Low Thia Khiang, his counterpart at the WP, rebutted in Lianhe Zaobao.

Meng Seng, fresh off a press conference on Thursday when he announced NSP’s slate of candidates for Moulmein-Kallang GRC, is unapologetic.

“It’s just an emotional, sentimental post. But people mistaken it as an attack. It’s not.”

Really? Even when you said they have “lost sight” of their mission, or that they are thumbing down on other parties? Even when you insinuate that they are “arrogant”?

He continues: “When you speak your mind of course it’s going to be critical. If I don’t speak my mind I’m a politician. But when I write I’m not a politician, I’m a human.”

What shall I call you then? Uncle Meng Seng? Pops? Granddaddy? Koyok Seller?

So, here’s a veteran politician pretending to be a ranty emo-kid with a personal blog-plaything. He waved away my suggestion that he was trying to use his blog to pressure the WP to give up Moulmein-Kallang. Shrewd politician? Or am I giving him too much credit?

The usually smooth auntie-killer also trips himself up by saying: “There’s nothing (in the blog post that’s) critical about anybody. It’s just a very emotional piece. There’s nothing to do with arguing who’s right and who’s wrong.”

I rest my case.

The Opposition should start doing what they do best: Whack the PAP! Say anything, like how the Prime Minister is a pig, or how Lee Kuan Yew should go to a retirement village!

But let’s give Secretary-General Sir credit where it’s due. His party is the first to officially announce their candidates at any constituency, beating even the PAP. He has managed to attract credible candidates who left the Reform Party, which indicates some semblance of leadership ability.

His experience probably helped. While Reform Party Secretary-General Kenneth Jeyaretnam comes across as a true noob with poor media management skills, Meng Seng appears slightly better.

He has another thing going for him: He looks like someone you can talk to. He’s not as dashing as PAP man Michael Palmer, but he’s cute, in a cuddly Teddy Bear kind of way.  He’s the uncle who sips kopi downstairs, Wanbao in hand. About as heartlander as you can get.

Ah Seng’s certainly someone who seems down-to-earth, or at least gives that impression. Kenneth on the other hand, seems like the opposite: He uses his poker face and impressive qualifications to hide his political inexperience.

But as much of a veteran as he is, I think the blog post is ill-timed and poorly conceived; a symptom of a deep-rooted problem within the opposition camp: Rampant egos. Calculated move or not, there is no room in politics for undisciplined emotional outbursts. It distracts both opposition parties from the real fight against the ruling party. It gives the impression of a fractured Opposition. It could be a tool used by the PAP against him.

And there’s no guarantee WP will be pressured to give up Moulmein-Kallang, despite NSP’s shenanigans and media posturing. Which means we could be headed for a three-way fight.

In fact, both parties seem to be so focused on their petty squabbles that they literally ignored PM Lee Hsien Loong’s recent jibe: “It seems to me rather exciting day-to-day changes, transformations, quarrels, squabbles, new friendships and old enmities all surfacing at the same time. I look forward to the next installment.”

Perhaps opposition members are suffering from guilty conscience. So I related my concern to a person within the NSP. And guessed what he told me? Be patient. Sure, you can tell me that, but try saying it to the thousands of first-time voters who have watched every episode of this oddball family drama, and who actually appreciate what the government has done for them so far, despite the rising costs of living. Voters are not stupid.

But as far as I’m concerned, there’s still time to get their act together.

The Opposition should start doing what they do best: Whack the PAP! Say anything, like how the Prime Minister is a pig, or how Lee Kuan Yew should go to a retirement village!

Anything but criticise your fellow opposition member in public, and pass it off as a touchy-feely moment. Even Singapore Democratic Party man James Gomez’s horrible piece on how Singapore will experience a revolution akin to the Middle East will suffice, although it sounds like empty election rhetoric that signals how out-of-touch with the ground he may be.

Yes, I’m that desperate.

More New Nation content on GE2011 here.

Party pooper on Thursday, still timely on Saturday

Party pooper on Thursday, still timely on Saturday

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What has an unlikely encounter with SDP man James Gomez got to do with what New Nation is about?

By Belmont Lay

JUST THE other day I bumped into James Gomez at a mall restroom in Farrer Park. This was on a Thursday while coincidentally on my way to the first-ever editorial discussion with the New Nation team.

I have never met the man in the flesh before. But I recognised him. Enough for me to promptly violate all male toilet etiquette by striking up a prolonged conversation.

An academic discussion about the press, public relations (his forte), social enterprises and the shortest possible route to Boat Quay were preceded by the usual what gives, the weather and what you doing this General Election.

All under 30 minutes and on the way from lavatory to the MRT station.

Not too bad for two people who have never met before.

Shortly after, we shook hands (which were already washed), wished each other all the best and went our separate ways.

And here’s the kicker: What was a foregone conclusion to me at that time – that Gomez was going to be a member of the Singapore Democratic Party – turned out to be news to the rest of the country only three days later.

The “if onlys” have culminated into a publication about giving you some fresh kicks from sources in the know and letting you on to what you can’t seem to find in the mainstream press – yet or never.

The public announcement about his SDP membership at the party’s pre-election rally at Hong Lim Park that Saturday was reported by the mainstream media only on Sunday.

And here’s the point of this missive: You wouldn’t have had to wait till Sunday for that piece of news. I could have told you so on Thursday. And I would have been a party pooper.

Or I could have waited till Saturday evening, and I would still have been timelier — with better, quotable quotes. It would have been a scoop.

But it wasn’t. The news didn’t reach the public until Sunday and it was hardly timely as there was no where to put the news out.

If only there was an outlet, if only bottom-up news and views could be credibly reported, if only there was an initiative and if only…

So this is what New Nation is about. The “if onlys” have culminated into a publication about giving you some fresh kicks from sources in the know and letting you on to what you can’t seem to find in the mainstream press – yet or never.

It is not exactly alternative press either. Or anti-establishment.

And God forbid should it actually become the much hackneyed “citizen journalism” – a noun that has been so loosely thrown around it has become an adjective to be used for purely descriptive purposes. Like how fresh sushi is described as “unctuous” or a salad as “crisp”.

What it shall be is a platform dedicated to bottom-up news and views. It will be helmed by young people who are staking a claim in wanting to be heard in this country.

With a bit of boundless energy to spare and a keen eye strained on current affairs, we are going to prove that being critical, insightful and not anonymous will lead to sources in the know for the purposes of news gathering and analysis.

So the next time, New Nation shall be world-ready. And coincidence-ready.

The next restroom conversation might just result in me running back excitedly to my keyboard to type: “Mah Bow Tan said the breakdown cost of building HDB flats is…”

Maybe the next time you wouldn’t have to wait till Sunday. Or better still, never have to wait for never.